McKinley Bridge

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McKinley Bridge
McKinley Bridge.jpg
Coordinates38°39′54″N 90°10′58″W / 38.66500°N 90.18278°W / 38.66500; -90.18278
Carries1 dedicated service lane, 2 lanes of traffic, and 1 dedicated pedestrian/bicycle lane
CrossesMississippi River
LocaleSt. Louis, Missouri and Venice, Illinois
Maintained byIllinois Department of Transportation
DesignSteel truss bridge
Total length6,313 feet (1,924 m)
Longest spanThree - 519 feet (158 m) spans
Clearance below90 feet (27 m)
OpenedNovember 10, 1910; 109 years ago (November 10, 1910)
Pedestrian re-opening: November 17, 2007; 12 years ago (November 17, 2007)
Full re-opening: December 17, 2007; 12 years ago (December 17, 2007)
Daily traffic17,000 (2014)[1]

The McKinley Bridge is a steel truss bridge across the Mississippi River. It connects northern portions of the city of St. Louis, Missouri with Venice, Illinois. It opened in 1910 and was taken out of service on October 30, 2001. The bridge was reopened for pedestrian and bicyclists on November 17, 2007 with a grand re-opening celebration.[2] Since December 2007, McKinley has been open to vehicular traffic as well. It is accessible from Illinois State Route 3 in Illinois and from the intersection of Salisbury and North 9th Street in the City of St. Louis. The bridge carried both railroad and vehicular traffic across the Mississippi River for decades. By 1978, the railroad line over the span was closed, and an additional set of lanes was opened for vehicles in the inner roadway.

The McKinley Bridge was the first alignment of U.S. Route 66 across the Mississippi. It is commonly assumed that the bridge was named for President William McKinley; but in reality, it was named for the builder, William B. McKinley, chief executive of the Illinois Traction System interurban electric railway, which accessed St. Louis via the bridge.


The current alignment of the bridge carries two lanes of traffic on the inner lanes. The outer lane on the north side of the bridge will become an exclusive service lane, while the outer lane on the south side of the bridge will become a sidewalk and bike path. It is expected to carry 14,000 vehicles across the river daily,[3] but total traffic across the river increased in 2014 by 7.4% over 2013 levels, and in April 2014, it was estimated that 17,000 vehicles use it daily.[1]


Designer of the bridge was Polish-American engineer Ralph Modjeski.[4] When the US Highway System was instituted in 1926, the McKinley Bridge carried the famous Route 66 across the Mississippi River for four years until a new alignment took the route over Chain of Rocks Bridge in order to avoid leading traffic directly into the downtown St. Louis area. The Chain of Rocks Bridge was famous for having a curve in the middle. It is now open to pedestrians.

The bridge was owned by the city of Venice, Illinois and operated as a toll bridge.[5] After decades of disrepair due to the lack of toll revenues, the McKinley Bridge was closed in 2001.[3]

The state of Illinois attempted to provide money to the city of Venice for repairing the bridge, but was unable to do so because of the outstanding taxes owed by the city. As a result, the City of St. Louis foreclosed on the bridge, delaying reconstruction efforts further. In an agreement reached in June 2003, the states of Illinois and Missouri agreed to take over ownership of the bridge from the city of Venice.[6]

Rehabilitation began in 2004 and the original plans for the repairs anticipated a re-opening in late 2005.[6] However, the date was pushed back due to the addition of The Great Rivers Greenway Bikeway tie-in. The rehabilitated McKinley Bridge consists of the three original river truss spans (Spans 26-29, 519 ft (158 m) long each) and thirty-three steel plate girder spans, with a length totaling 4,162.5 ft (1,268.7 m) The Bridge reopened to pedestrians and bicycles on November 17, 2007[7] and was fully reopened to traffic on December 17, 2007.[8]

The McKinley Bridge seen from the Gateway Arch

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "IDOT: New bridge carrying less traffic than originally expected". Belleville News Democrat. April 14, 2014. Archived from the original on July 14, 2014. Retrieved July 5, 2014.
  2. ^ St. Amand, Amanda (October 21, 2007). "Be thankful: Next month, we'll have McKinley back". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Archived from the original on November 22, 2007. Retrieved October 22, 2007.
  3. ^ a b Jadhav, Adam (June 3, 2007). "Officials hope to reopening of McKinley Bridge". Retrieved July 12, 2007.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ Glomb, Jozef; Peter J. Obst (Translator) (2002) (in English). A man who spanned two eras: The story of bridge engineer Ralph Modjeski. Philadelphia: Kosciuszko Foundation. ISBN 978-0-917004-25-4.
  5. ^ "State of Illinois Public Acts". Retrieved May 3, 2007.
  6. ^ a b Office of James F. Costello (June 16, 2003). "U.S. CONGRESSMAN JERRY COSTELLO PARTICIPATES IN ANNOUNCEMENT OF MCKINLEY BRIDGE BUYOUT". Archived from the original on October 31, 2008. Retrieved November 1, 2008.
  7. ^ "McKinley Bridge Opens To Pedestrians".
  8. ^ "McKinley Bridge reopens to traffic after $52 M renovation". December 17, 2007. Retrieved November 1, 2008.[permanent dead link]

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